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Slaughtering and Butchering a Cow

| 1/10/2014 4:21:00 PM

“This I believe: to eat humanely raised and slaughtered animals is not only ethical, it’s important to our humanity.” – Michael Ruhlman

The Texas Pioneer WomanWe slaughter a cow that we raised with dignity and care to provide meat for our family. Nothing tastes as good as eating our own beef that we raised ourselves. We know that we are eating meat that came from a healthy cow who was grass fed and was not injected with growth hormones. The beef is processed in a sanitary environment and cut and packaged to our own specifications and needs. We feel that we are giving our family the healthiest meat possible. We feel self-sufficient in providing for the needs of our family.

Slaughtering the Cow

Here in our corner of the woods in Texas it has been a cold fall and winter. We are getting ready to slaughter a steer during this cold period. This steer is 20 months old. In the past we have slaughtered both steers and heifers, depending on what is available during the slaughter time of the year. As we prepare for this year’s beef butchering, let me share with you last year’s beef butchering process. Last year we slaughtered a cow that was an 18-month heifer. We estimate that she weighed about 900 pounds at slaughter time.

Slaughter Cow

We shot the heifer with a .22 rifle. We then bled the cow by making an incision on her neck with a knife to allow her to bleed out. This is all done quickly and carefully, so that the animal does not have to suffer more than necessary. We hung the cow on the front loader bucket of our tractor. After the cow bled out we removed the hide. We also removed the head and hooves. We removed the cow’s guts and cut the carcass in half. We washed the cow out with water several times throughout the whole process to keep the meat as clean as possible. We cut each half of the cow into three pieces so that we had six pieces in total. The reason we cut the meat into six pieces is that it is easier for us to handle six pieces of meat versus two halves of a cow. If you need to cut it smaller pieces than by all means do what works for you.

7/12/2014 8:49:28 AM

Loved the article. It is nice to see and read something like this now a days. I have butchered many a white tailed deer, small game, and birds. I also worked as a meat cutter for many years. But our meat came in sides and large pieces vacuum packed. Just one thing though. It would of been nice to read what you used to split the animal in two with. That is a lot of bone to get through. A meat saw would take forever and a chain saw seems a bit tricky. I am sure a type of chain saw is used commercially. I was very good with a knife but bone in is always better.

1/20/2014 7:57:53 PM

We just processed our first three pigs this fall. Definitely worth all the effort. We have 2 angus that will calve early summer so we are around 2 years away from from having our big day. Just curious, what size tractor are you using? Did you do anything with the hides? I let the pig skins go this year because i was overwhelmed with all work getting the the 3 pigs slaughtered. I'm trying to prepare myself mentally for the kill which i think will be harder than the chicken and pigs. I think its the big eyes. How did you fare for the first ? Thanks for the post

1/13/2014 11:07:46 AM

TPW, slaughtering a cow is a big under taking. Not many folks here in Nebraska do that any more. If they do raise a cow, they have it processed at a local butcher. I can understand wanting to complete the process after raising the animal. I remember from childhood the neighbors helping each other out on slaughtering day. My only experience with that was at the age of about seven or eight. We slaughtered a pig. My job was to cut up the fat trimmings into one inch cubes to be rendered into lard. I did help a friend slaughter two sheep last year which was quite interesting. Smaller animals are a little easier to cut up and the definitely cool down faster. ***** Have a great processing day.

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